I started working at my first full-time job after graduating college a year and a half ago. Due to various factors, I've decided that it's time for me to look for other employment opportunities.

I've been having some trouble figuring out how to schedule phone calls etc with potential employers while still working at my present job. I'm assuming that employers will be looking to conduct phone calls/interviews during normal business hours, while I'm also at work.

I work in a fairly small and open office, so it would be challenging to take private calls in the office, but I do work from home one day every week or two.

So far, I've managed to communicate mostly over email (which can be done in the evenings), or by arranging short phone calls on days when I work from home and starting earlier or working later to make up the time.

I don't want my performance at my current job to be affected by my job search, and I also don't want to take a half day from work every time I need to make a phone call.

Are my assumptions about potential employers' expectations regarding timing inaccurate? How can I effectively respond to requests for phone calls/interviews in a timely manner without requesting many half days off? Do I need to bite the bullet and pick a day or two to take off a few weeks in the future and try to batch all of my calls on those days?


2 Answers 2


I don't want my performance at my current job to be affected by my job search, and I also don't want to take a half day from work every time I need to make a phone call.

The way I handle this is:

  1. Initial phone interviews are scheduled when you can take an extended break or before / after working hours. ( lunch or car ride home?? )
  2. You will have to take unplanned time off ( sick days or PTO ) when you are to the point where face to face interviews are required.
  3. If you are able to work from home, you can schedule your phone interviews on that particular day.

Most employers seeking candidates understand that they are currently working full time and usually can be flexible when scheduling F2F or phone interviews.

You have to tread lightly so as to not tip your hand to your employer that you are seeking out other employment opportunities. Be sure you do not conduct your search efforts on any company resources ( phone, PC, etc. )

Good luck.


First - companies are aware that the best hires are usually already in work. You won't be the first person that's messed them around to keep a job :)

Yes, most employers will want to talk during business hours. Depending on the organisation, you might be able to fudge it somewhat - small companies might schedule an interview with the guy that works late, multinationals might get someone in another time zone to do phone interviews. A good company won't mind you asking, because the inconvenience to them is offset by the demonstration that you're conscientious to your colleagues. But you'll probably get a lot of "sorry, can't help" type responses anyway.

If you can schedule your work-from-home in advance, you should be able to say e.g. "I'm available on the second and fourth Thursday morning each month, so X, Y and Z are my next free days. Let me know which one's good for you". For an in-person interview, it's fine to add e.g. "I can only do 9:00 to 9:30" - they'll understand why.

People who schedule meetings as part of their job tend to be very good at juggling well-defined constraints, so a specific promise you can keep ("every other Thursday") will usually be received better than a general offer that's more accurate ("I can probably figure something out with enough notice"). If your initial offer is bad for them, they'll just haggle over the details. That's fine so long as you make sure to offer constructive alternatives to any suggestions you can't live with. For example, if they say "we can't do 9:00-9:30 on Thursday, how about 9:00-9:45 on Wednesday?", it's fine to say something like "Wednesday should be possible, but can we make it 8:45-9:30?", but not a good idea to say "no can do, got anything else?".

Employers will often pressure you to interview sooner because the longer they leave it, the more likely you are to get an offer from a competing firm. There's no incentive for them not to ask, but they'll usually relent if you make your timetable clear. Having said that, you'll probably end up having to take a few half-days here and there over the course of your search.

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